Wednesday, August 10, 2016

setting up chairs // Declare 2016

"You make known to me the path of life;
you will fill me with joy in your presence"
-Psalm 16:11
Declare was two weeks ago. two hundred women - friends, now - gathered together for a weekend to learn more about blogging, writing, and social media. but it's not just a blogging conference. we get together to know God and make God known. we are many voices with one message: Jesus. we gather to become disciples so we can then be evangelists in our digital, blogging, book-writing, and social media worlds.

"May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you the same attitude of mind toward each other that Christ Jesus had, so that with one mind and one voice you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ." -Romans 15:5-6

i am truly in awe of God's faithfulness. i feel like i've had the opportunity to witness something be created from start to finish, made completely from scratch, born of nothing but faith and love. i remember about six months ago at a Declare team meeting Kristin said, "i have a feeling God is going to do something new this year, something different...something big." and with wide eyes we agreed with her and thanked God for letting us be part of it. all year we work work work work work and then for three nights we get to sit back and watch the Lord do incredible things in the hearts and lives of women with incredible influence. subsequently, He does incredible things in our hearts and lives, too. and it's all so worth it. in the same room where we talked practical and how to and super geeky techy stuff - coding and themes and SEO and analytics - we could literally feel God's presence as if it was raining inside the building. there was healing and breakthrough and freedom and answered prayers. God's presence was rich and real and undeniable and beautiful. the room radiated with complete joy.

the ripple effect is what gets me, though. when those women go home to their families, friends, and communities, they are not the same. they have something new rising up in them. they left Declare empowered, equipped, and connected. i saw it in their faces, i heard it in their amen. just watch. Kristin was right: God did something big.

and to think i almost missed this. it's funny now recall how this all started with me volunteering to set up tables and chairs, and how i stubbornly resisted doing this, and for the first few years i was an accidental and somewhat reluctant event planner. finally, the year of "wild obedience," i realized i was called by God to be a part of Declare. i realized that i had stumbled upon my calling and it was high time i stepped into it. this is what i am meant to do.

"Sometimes, all we need to find our calling is see what’s always been there...That’s the funny thing about a calling. It can sneak up on you." -Jeff Goins

Declare is bigger than me, but now is a big part of me. it requires my full dependence on God. wild obedience. deeper relationship. choosing His presence over platforms. it challenges me in new ways, yet is familiar work that i love to do, and it matters. what happens over that weekend every year is absolutely beyond my doing. as Michelle said a few years ago about being a Declare hostess, "we just set up the chairs, God does the rest." as long as God keeps nudging me this way, i will keep showing up to set up the chairs.

"I only want to complete my mission and finish the work that the Lord Jesus gave me to do, which is to declare the Good News about the grace of God." -Acts 20:24